SEMA eNews Vol. 10, No. 18, May 3, 2007

NEW YORK LAWMAKER ASSUMES LEADERSHIP POST OF STATE AUTO CAUCUS

New York Assemblyman Bill Reilich is the new chairman of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. The Caucus is supported by SEMA. Reilich succeeds Montana Senator John Brueggeman who served in that capacity since the Caucus’ inception in 2005.

The Caucus is a bipartisan group of state lawmakers whose common thread is a love for automobiles. To date, almost 200 state legislators from California to New York have joined the group. The Caucus serves to raise the motor vehicle hobby’s profile in state legislatures across the country, and in the public's eyes. Many of these lawmakers seek to preserve and expand the hobby by improving existing motor-vehicle statutes and regulations.

Assemblyman Reilich immediately demonstrated his desire to get involved in keeping the laws in New York fair and hobby-friendly when he joined the Caucus in 2006. Reilich helped defeat a bill to effectively ban the use of brush and grille guards on New York public roads.

"Assemblyman Reilich understood that this proposed ban relied heavily on unsubstantiated claims that grille guards obstruct airbag sensors," said SEMA Vice President, Government Affairs Steve McDonald. "The public is already safe-guarded since it is illegal to sell or install a product that would take a vehicle out of compliance with a federal safety standard, in this case, fully operational airbag sensors. Our friend Bill Reilich is leading the charge in the New York Legislature to ensure that hobbyists can enjoy the extra margin of safety and styling provided by grille guards.”

Reilich has recently taken a seat on the New York Assembly's Transportation Committee in order to help protect the rights of motor-vehicle enthusiasts. In 2007, he introduced SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle titling and registration classification for street rods and custom vehicles, including kit cars and replicas. In addition, his current advocacy efforts are sensitive to the needs of small businesses, the catalyst for the U.S. economic engine.

Despite his busy legislative schedule, Reilich still finds time to fit in all the "car stuff," having recently added a '81 T-Bird to his collection. He can often be found working on and refining his '57 Chevy.

“As a New York State Legislator, I have been diligent in my efforts to protect the interests of automobile enthusiasts in my state,” Reilich said. “When researching bills dealing with vehicle modification, I am careful to share with my colleagues the whole and accurate picture regarding proposed legislation. Those that don't share our love of the automobile are often unaware of the unintended effect of many of the bills. That is the role of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus, and I welcome this chance to serve as chairman. As its past leader, Senator Brueggeman has set the bar very high. Together the Caucus will continue to ensure the voices of the auto enthusiasts are heard nationwide.”

To view the entire list of State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus members, visit www.semasan.com/main/main.aspx?id=61681. To learn more about the group, contact Steve McDonald at stevem@sema.org, 202/783-6007.

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